Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Kristine Dyrmann

Political sociability at the Brahetrolleborg estate in Denmark, 1789-90

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

The eighteenth-century country estate was a political space, and this was particularly true for the estate of Brahetrolleborg in 1780s and 1790s absolutist Denmark. This article explores the agency of Brahetrolleborg’s social hostess, Sybille Reventlow, and her sister, Charlotte Schimmelmann, focusing on the politically charged years of 1789–90 and the two women’s engagement in the political project of their court faction, the ‘reform circle”. Taking Elaine Chalus’ concept of ‘political sociability” as my point of departure, I argue that the estate’s female head of household, Sybille Reventlow, managed people, and social situations for political ends at Brahetrolleborg; receiving and entertaining school inspectors, members of the court and the royal family as guests at the manor. Sybille Reventlow’s correspondence shows that she cooperated with Charlotte Schimmelmann to suppress a petition from the peasants at Brahetrolleborg, calling on the Foreign Minister to stop the complaint. The concluding analysis demonstrates that Charlotte Schimmelmann, during one of her summer visits to Brahetrolleborg, discussed the composition of a new School Commission, and the funding of Brahetrolleborg’s schools, with Sybille Reventlow’s husband, Ludvig Reventlow, acting as an intermediary between her brother-in-law and her husband, the Finance Minister of the reform reign.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of History
Pages (from-to)510-530
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

    Research areas

  • Brahetrolleborg, Danish absolutism, Political sociability, School Commissions, female agency, school reforms

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 194385647

994 / i29